I don't know how I became a star: Kishore
The actor believes that Kalathur Gramam follows a long list of Tamil films which have successfully managed to keep the local culture alive
From his rural subjects like Thilagar and this week’s release, Kalathur Gramam, you wouldn’t know how soft-spoken Kishore is. A few minutes into the conversation, it’s also clear that the actor, hailing from Karnataka, has really worked hard on his Tamil. "I should thank those who make me dub for my films (laughs). Kannada is so different from Tamil. I keep practising the lines and when I think I’ve got it right, I jump up and say, ‘Ippo sollidaren!’ I’m quite nervous about dubbing,” says Kishore.
He says Kalathur Gramam is about a village and what happened in it. “It’s also the story of two friends who have the village under their control and the emotional drama between them. The stories cut across three periods,” he says. “It's a nice film that will make the audience feel for the characters. We've given our best and whatever mistakes we've done have been neatly covered up by Suresh sir's editing and Ilaiyaraaja sir's music (laughs).” The background score, especially, will be a treat, he says. "There are a lot of emotional ups and downs, and sir's music has beautifully enhanced them.”
Kishore thinks that a lot of great stories lie hidden in rural areas. “In this time of consumerism and globalisation, we often need to be reminded about our culture and language. Stories from rural backgrounds help us reclaim our identity,” he says.
He lauds Tamil cinema for keeping this nativity intact. "Keeping the local culture alive is important. That's why dubbed films from other states don't do well in Tamil Nadu. The content isn't accepted when it's not relatable to the local crowd. To destroy that has been the agenda of all our invaders, and capitalists. Cinema has kept that native aspect alive and has passed it on from generation to generation," he says.
He believes that better times are ahead for other industries too. "This is also happening to Malayalam cinema. In Telugu too, few filmmakers are trying to evolve from writing only hero-centric stories," he says.
He’s a hero in this film, but it’s not a distinction he likes to make. “All my directors try to project me differently. Naa oru somberi. So they take the effort while I take the credit," he laughs. But it’s not accidental that he’s doing a variety of roles. "I choose some films for the money, some for the commitment, and some because they are great scripts. Every now and then, I like to do an experimental film,” he says.
His motivation to do commercial films is mainly so he can cater to a larger section of the audience. “In good films — what you guys like to do call offbeat films — sometimes, I feel like an inferior actor. So, I tend to do commercial films too. Doing Kabali, for example, got me a lot of recognition,” he says.
Kishore has a strong line-up of films including Howrah Bridge, Vada Chennai, Saatai 2 and Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu 2. "Foreigners stereotype us as snake charmers and beggars. I wish I were a star, so I could do something about this. But I don't know how to become one,” he laughs, ruefully.